By: Michael Murphy
The New Year is upon us and what better way to spend the beginning of 2019 with your family than by setting healthy resolutions with the kids. Goal-setting is one of the most important things that we can teach our children. By encouraging children to set goals, parents can help build confidence and self-esteem in their kids and motivate them to take on new challenges.
Spending time with your kids to set goals for the New Year is a wonderful and positive experience for the whole family. This time of year, you have a unique opportunity as parents to do something that is really positive and totally life-changing with your children. It is a great way to communicate with your kids on what they loved about the past year and what they are most looking forward to in the future.
What you as a family choose to focus your energy on in the coming year can be a fun and creative time for all involved. So without further ado, here are my “Totally Awesome Top 5” suggestions for New Year’s Resolutions and Goals with the kids in 2019!
1. EAT A MORE HEALTHY DIET: Start by spending more time together as a family talking about nutrition and healthy eating. One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to head to the grocery store with my parents and learn more about the foods I was putting in my body. I’m sure your kids will love it too. Teach them about the different types of foods available at the supermarket and why some are better for you than others. Discover new healthy recipes together with your kids; then shop for the ingredients and have them help you prepare the meal. Teaching our kids about healthy nutrition is one of the best gifts we can give our kids in 2019. Limit the amount of sugary snacks and drinks. Save the trips to Shake Shack and the like for special occasions.
2. DECREASE SCREEN TIME: One of the things I have noticed over the holiday break is how many families are eating “together,” yet spend so much time before, after and even during the meal on their phones, tablets and other devices. I may be old school, but whatever happened to dinner conversation with the kids? If you are not already doing so, I highly recommend no screens at the dinner table. We are all missing out on great conversations with our kids every time we are looking at our devices and posting photos of the food we ought be enjoying with our families. Limit this time and you will most certainly have a much more positive experience at meal time.
If that is too much, how about a “Screen Free Sunday?” And if every Sunday seems like a tall order, than perhaps a good resolution would be the first Sunday of each month is screen free until a certain time of the day. I think you will find the kids will eventually enjoy this and hopefully decrease their screen time over the long haul on their own.
3. LEARN A NEW SPORT OR FITNESS ACTIVITY: Sports and fitness are essential to a child’s overall development. Learning a new sport or fitness activity not only has numerous health benefits, but also improves your child’s social and emotional skills. The adage “healthy body, healthy mind” really is true! Learning a new sport or fitness activity will help develop your child’s mind and problem solving capabilities. Encourage your child to try something new and be positive and enthusiastic about the activity. If they are not the sporty type, try to encourage them to give Yoga or Zumba a try! Your kids do not need to be All-Star athletes to enjoy sports and fitness. Cheer them on to do their personal best! Participate in the sport or activity with your kids whenever possible. Take them to the park and go for a run, shoot some hoops or just have a game of catch.
4. READ MORE: This is a resolution that most parents probably have on their radar, but just in case you missed it, one great goal for our kids in 2019 is to read more. Instead of watching TV or going online (more screen time), set a goal with your kids to read for 30 minutes before bedtime. Have your child read at least 10 pages or 2 chapters each night and you will see amazing results. Spend an extra 10 minutes chatting with your child about what they read about and get their insights on the subject matter.
Take your child to the library and have them explore new genres. Whether it be sci-fi, historical fiction, biography or mystery, there are so many genres our children have yet to find. Have them keep a record of all the different types of books and authors they are reading in a notebook or journal.
5. GO GREEN: There are so many ways that you and the kids can go green in 2019! Ride the bike or take the subway and leave the car at home. Teach your children about saving energy. Have them help pick out your family’s grocery bags; and bring them to the store when you are buying all the organic food you are going to eat as a family in 2019. Start a recycling program in your home! The sky is the limit! Going green as a family is a great way for the kids to learn more about the environment we live in and make a real difference in the community.